Tag Archives: pasta

Farfalle con Pollo e Pesto

A pretentious name for a sublime dish: Bowtie Pasta with Chicken and Pesto. – Chef John

1 lb Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
2 lbs ground white meat chicken
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
2 large green peppers, seeded and diced
2 small jars prepared pesto (6.7 oz each) or 14 oz freshly prepared pesto
3 Tbsp dried garlic chips (for garnish) (Optional)

In a large cooker, bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil. (It is said that Italians believe your pasta water should be as salty as the Mediterranean.) Add Farfalle and cook per directions (normally12-14 minutes) to al dente and drain.

While water is coming to a boil (and pasta is cooking) take a large skillet, add ground chicken, garlic and black pepper. Cook until chicken is done and crumbled. Drain off any excess liquids from the skillet that may have accumulated. Add diced green peppers and stir to combine.

Once pasta is cooked and drained, add to the chicken and pepper mixture. Stir to combine. Add pesto and stir to combine again. You’re making sure that every bite will be as flavourful as the last.

If desired, sprinkle top with dried garlic chips. Here at The Wannabe Gourmet, we love garlic, so it’s always desired!

Serves 8, alongside toasted, crusty garlic bread.


Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Hearty enough to be a main course in itself, use this recipe as a springboard to your own favourite creation!

1 lb of tri-colour rotini pasta, cooked to al dente.
1 lb artichoke hearts in brine
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion
1 lb white button mushrooms
8 oz sun dried tomatoes in oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
8 oz Kalamata olives
8 oz grated Parmesan
8 oz Zesty Italian Dressing (home made, or store bought; regular or light)

Slice yellow onion in half and then into not too thin wedges. In a wok, heat 2 tbsp olive oil until just shimmering. Add minced garlic and cook until just fragrant (not allowing to brown too dark or it will taste burnt) about 30-40 seconds. Add onion and reduce heat to medium low, cooking until onion is translucent.

Drain sun dried tomatoes, reserving oil for other purposes. Add to onions and garlic, and add 1/2 cup water. Sauté for six to eight minutes.

Remove veggies from wok. Add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to wok and heat until shimmering. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until cooked through and slightly browned. While this is happening, drain artichokes and discard brine. Rinse and roughly chop. Slice half the olives, retaining the other half whole.

Reserving some sauteed mushrooms for garnish, return reserved veggies, artichokes and olives to wok. Cook for 1-2 minutes further in order to allow flavours to meld.

Combine veggies with the pasta in a large bowl, adding Zesty Italian dressing and tossing to coat.

To serve, dish into individual serving bowls, top with sauteed mushroom garnish and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Buon appetito!


Lemon Chicken with Mushrooms and Angel Hair Pasta

Who says you have to have high fat or even high sodium to have huge flavour? This dish goes to show that the addition of spices, and minimal oil help keep everything down to quite a low calorie count.

1 medium onion, sliced thinly
3 cups button mushrooms, sliced
6 tbsp water, divided
olive oil (see directions)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or more, depending on how hot you like it)
3 garlic cloves, minced
16 oz broccoli florets, blanched and heated through
3 portions of angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
3 tbsp lemon juice (the juice of one whole lemon)

In  a large pan, place 1 tsp olive oil. Using a paper towel, wipe the oil around to lightly coat the surface of the pan, and remove the excess (retain this paper towel). Place over medium heat and add mushrooms, onions, and 3 tbsp water. Place a lid on the pan, and allow them to steam in their own liquids. Stir occasionally until they are tender. Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm.

Using the oil soaked paper towel, wipe down the pan again, and add garlic, chicken cubes, crushed red pepper flakes, and remaining water. Cover to allow chicken to steam and cook through, stirring occasionally.

Return the mushrooms and onions to the pan, along with the blanched broccoli and the al dente pasta. Add lemon juice overall, toss to combine and heat through.

Serves 6 as dished, or 4 with larger appetites.


Sesame Garlic Shrimp with Fettuccine and Broccoli Florets

Who says you don’t have time to whip up a good, healthy, tasty meal on a weeknight? Making use of shrimp and a few ingredients makes this a winner!

2 lbs 21-30 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds

1 lb fettuccine (fresh or dried)
2 tbsp sea salt
1 lb frozen broccoli florets

In a large pot, bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Salt the water after it has come to a boil (salting before boiling might lead to pitting of your cookware), then add the broccoli. Return pot to boil, and cook for 1 minute, then add the fettuccine. Continue cooking until fettuccine is al dente. Immediately remove to strainer.

In the meantime, heat your oil in a wok until it has a slight shimmer. Add garlic and cook for 60 to 90 seconds until fragrant. Add peeled, deveined shrimp and toss to coat with oil and garlic. Continue tossing (or stirring) until shrimp are opaque and pink in colour. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and toss to coat. Cook 1 minute more.

Add cooked broccoli and fettuccine to the wok, and using tongs, toss to combine. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top and dinner is ready.

Serves 6-8.


Creole Romano

Creole Romano

1 medium onion, finely minced
1 tbsp celery, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 lb steamed and cleaned salad (250/350) shrimp
1 lb chorizo, diced to the same size as shrimp
1 cup fat free half and half
1 cup skim milk
16 oz Angel Hair pasta
10 oz grated Parmesan/Romano cheeses (separated)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook Angel Hair pasta; drain and set to the side.

In a medium skillet, brown chorizo and drain.

In a large pot, sauté the onion, celery and garlic in oil for about 3 minutes or until soft. Add the flour, stir, and sauté for 1 minute longer. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, thyme, cayenne and hot pepper sauce. Stir to combine, then add half and half, and skim milk. Stir to combine, then add shrimp and chorizo. Heat just to boiling, then stir 5 ounces of Parmesan/Romano cheese, and angel hair pasta. Toss to combine.

Dish out into individual oven proof serving dishes, and place 1/2 – 1 ounce of reserved grated cheese over top, and place in oven for 8-9 minutes, or until cheese has melted and top is lightly browned.

Serve with a side of green vegetables (a salad, spinach, haricots verts, or broccoli), and a piece of garlic bread.

Serves 8.


Hearty Macaroni & Cheese with Ham (and Spinach Salad)

Hearty Macaroni & Cheese with Ham

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups skim milk
16 ounces medium shell pasta
1/2 lb ham (any type except country), finely diced
2 1/2 cups mixed reduced fat (partially skim) cheddar and mozzarella cheeses
1/2 cup plain or Italian bread crumbs (you can also make your own!)

Cook pasta just shy of al dente (between 1 and 2 minutes shorter than the package recommends). Drain and set to the side.

In a large cooker, make a roux by melting butter and adding in flour. Whisk together until foamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add Dijon mustard, stirring together continuously. (Note: the roux will “seize up” this is okay!) Add skim milk and whisk continuously until roux relaxes and combines together. Continue stirring until thickened. Add ham and cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted. Remove from heat, and stir in pasta. Once pasta is completely coated, turn out into a 9x13x2 baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and the breadcrumbs are lightly brown. (Serves 6 as a main course, more as an appetizer.)

Spinach Salad with Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette

The Raspberry Vinaigrette and dried cranberries cut through the pungency of the onion for a sweet and tangy taste.

This is just a starting point. Go crazy with the veggies!

12 ounces of spinach, cleaned and dried.
3 large carrots, cut into coins
4 ounces of radishes, sliced
1 medium white (or red) onion, cut into half and then into strips
2 ounces dried cranberries

Using four salad bowls, layer 3 ounces of spinach, 1 ounce of radishes, 1/2 ounce of dried cranberries, carrots and onions to taste. If using other veggies, pile them on as well! Top with Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette.

Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette

1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 tsp.)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp dried tarragon, crushed
1 cup water
2 tbsp walnut oil

Combine the vinegar and salt until salt is thoroughly dissolved. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate in a tightly covered container. Shake well before using.

Yield: 2 cups. (Serving size: approximately 2 tbs)